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October 07, 2019

Five Signs Your Reform Has Become Another Education Fad

Eager vendors, early-adopting educators, and media adulation can be taken as evidence that a reform is going swimmingly—but these signs are frequently misread.

September 03, 2019

The Parable of the Teacher and the Experts

It's the dawn of a new school year. As Rick sat down to write about it, he got a premonition of how this school year will once again go for so many.

July 15, 2019

The Wham-O Pudding Essay Contest Theory of Educational Innovation

I regularly receive invitations to participate in essay contests devoted to rethinking American education. These competitions, I fear, are the worst way to spur real change.

June 03, 2019

That's Not Helpful, Rick

Once or twice a week, someone tells me that something I'd written "wasn't helpful." But what they usually have in mind is "shut up and get with the program."

December 17, 2018

Why Education Policy's Big Listening Moment Doesn't Involve Much Listening

The education space has been gripped by a newfound love of listening. But it's a decidedly mixed blessing.

April 02, 2014

PISA's Problem-Solving Results Are Interesting, But That's It

Yesterday, PISA released its newest report on the results of a "first-of-its-kind" assessment that sought to measure "creative problem-solving skills" of 15-year-olds. U.S. students scored above average, thought they fared worse than ten of the "44 countries and economies" (now there's an awkward phrase). Thankfully, the exercise hasn't occasioned the same spasm of hyperventilation that greeted the release of PISA's math, science, and reading results a few months back.

September 06, 2012

Finland's Secret Edu-Sauce: Pricey Booze, Plenty of Saunas, and the Dearth of Pantsless Ducks?

Just returned from three weeks spent traipsing around Scandinavia. Had a chance to meander Copenhagen, Bergen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, and such. Funniest discoveries: Norwegians are busy enthusiastically hosting a World Cup qualifier for scavenger hunting (they call it "orienteering"), the Danes...

February 21, 2012

Kristof Shills, Loveless Scrutinizes

Last week offered a classic illustration of edu-hype, courtesy of the New York Times. Fortunately, it also featured a trifecta of that much rarer edu-commodity--tough-minded, skeptical scrutiny--courtesy of the Brookings Institution's Tom Loveless (a man who may be allergic to edu-faddism). Let's...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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